July is officially here! I booked a flight for a fun adventure. I have two jobs I love. Plus, I made you truffles, cookies, tacos, and this easy & fun Summer berry crostini.
I’m also currently obsessing over zucchini and have way too many ideas in my head; I literally had to force myself out of the grocery store after three hours of pacing the aisles. Pretty typical.
Besides being a grocery store stalker, I was quite busy this past weekend. The majority of my Friday was spent working then I caught a movie and stayed up until my eyes felt like heavy bricks. Saturday went by too quick; I hit a yoga class in the morning, did some editorial planning for the blog, and watched an episode of Cats from Hell. NOT KIDDING. I love cats.
I had a little ‘me’ time yesterday though and spent most of my day in the kitchen. I’m trying to get caught up on recipe creation so that I can take a little vacation over the weekend and relax. My wonderful mom also stopped over to show me her StitchFix collection (I got her hooked!). We haven’t seen each other in nearly two weeks so it was good to catch up. It’s important to remember you can never be too busy for your family. However, you can be too busy for when your mom tells you about how much she loves Jeremy Piven.
Of course… mine was delicious! I took the day off Friday to spend time with my mom; we had a fun lunch at Panera and got pedis. Then I spent the better part of the afternoon getting organized in preparation for a move. I have come to the conclusion that will never like packing things or getting rid of clothes.
On Saturday I had a fun date night at Borough in Minneapolis (more to come on that another time).
Yesterday was Mother’s Day; my family celebrated with a light brunch and they also forced me to make my best apple crisp. Afterwards I got in a beautiful 6 mile run, then dabbled in the kitchen a bit with some cooking. Some days there’s nothing better than doing exactly what your passionate about, you know? Grocery store runs, organizing my recipes, and photographing the end result always makes me feel a bit accomplished.
So this weekend I shoveled snow in my heels because I didn’t have any boots with me. It was completely ridiculous but also a little riveting as it proves I’m a total badass. Call me Beyonce.
Just kidding, please don’t do that.
Something that’s actually ridiculous though? My complete obsession with brown butter. It’s life-changing, and I have a slight feeling that I may be responsible for introducing many of you to the magic it can create in a recipe. How can something so simple be that delicious? I don’t ask questions I just try and put it in as many things as possible.
Now I enjoy making my own sweet potato fries, but if I’m in a bind I’ll purchase Alexia Sweet Potato Fries; they’re delicious and a great option if you don’t feel like peeling and cutting your sweet potatoes. Plus, you can always spice up your fries to your liking. My favorite sweet potato fries are heavily dusted with cinnamon and sugar. They remind me of the flavors of Thanksgiving, like I’m eating a slice of sweet potato pie.
But do you know what really takes it over the top? Drizzling them with a brown butter marshmallow glaze.
I think need to repeat that. A BROWN BUTTER MARSHMALLOW GLAZE. I feel giddy every time I think about it.
Welp, it’s Monday. I have a lot of things that I need to share with you. So let’s just get to it!
1. I got an iPhone. My life has officially changed… I don’t know if it’s for the better since I’m pretty obsessed. This weekend my godson downloaded like 5 ninja apps. He also read my texts. Yes, quite entertaining. Oh and obviously I now have Instagram. I basically just take photos of food, brown butter, and things that don’t matter. SO COOL, right? Wrong.
2. I’m headed to NYC this week! Eeeek! Can you believe that I’ve never been before? I am SO excited. I’ll only be there a few days, but trust me,you are going to want to see the recap. We’re staying in the Trump tower! I also really need some incredible restaurant recommendations so send them my way puhhhlease?
3. My birthday is in like, a month and 10 days… but who’s counting? ANYWAY due to this immediate holiday coming up, I have to start thinking about what I really want to do. I have concluded that I need an incredible meal, followed by a HOMEMADE pumpkin pie served with real whip cream. Really, it’s all I want. Or a trip to Greece. Either one would work.
4. That being said, Thanksgiving is soon. There will be epic desserts on this blog in the next coming weeks. Bear with me as we expand our waistlines… OR you could just make the recipes for other people and give them yoga pants for Christmas.
5. This HUMMUS needs to be made by you. Also bonus points if you make homemade pita chips and eat it for breakfast because you know that’s what I did. I have to thank the fabulous Giada for the inspiration. I have to thank myself for slathering it over everything in sight.
My basil plant is still producing huge leaves, so I decided that it was time to use them up. Holy italian-hummus-love this is GOOD. The basil, garlic, and white bean hummus makes the perfect appetizer and is pretty great on just about anything.
Hummus on sandwiches. Hummus for breakfast. Hummus snacking is totally good. I would know, I dipped carrots, snowpeas, and every veggie imaginable in it. At one point I contemplated putting it on a granola bar, but decided that was taking it too far. But I don’t know. It might still happen.
Oh and the whole making your own pita chips thing? Probably the easiest thing you could ever do. I usually buy the 100 calorie whole wheat pita bread. Western Bagelmakes an amazing high-fiber, lower-carb pita bread, but feel free to use any you like!
I have a few foods that I have fond memories of. They continue to be my favorites throughout the years.
This got me thinking… what makes food memorable? It is simply the taste of it? Or more of what we associate with our food experiences?
Every time I have hot chocolate I’m taken back to when I used to ice skate with my girlfriends. We’d grab a cup of rich creamy hot cocoa with excessive jumbo marshmallows, whole milk, and all things that fitness magazines say we shouldn’t have.
When I want to indulge in things like that, I remind myself that I’m just living life. You know, enjoying those simple moments filled with laughter, good food and friendship. In fact, those moments are building memories. So damn right, I’m having that hot chocolate!
With extra whip cream thank you very much.
Often times I wonder why I find pumpkin pie to be the best dessert on the planet. I mean, it’s so simple! But eating pumpkin pie reminds me of the first time I made a pie by all by myself. How I crafted the crust with such determination. In that very moment, I was discovering my passion and creativity for baking. So really it’s not the dessert itself, it’s the memories that come with each bite.
Now it’s my soul food; it feeds me happiness in the form of good memories.
To date, one of my favorite meals was scallops with spaghetti squash, roasted red peppers, with this incredible creamy sauce. It was finished with a chocolate soufflé and rich chocolate ice cream. Which of course I devoured. I think it’s memorable to me specifically because of the person I was with.
Time spent with good people can make food special. This I know to be true. Just think about some of your favorite foods. Or the best meal you’ve ever had. It was probably more of an experience and memory rather just based on taste alone.
Sometimes I find myself in an entranced state when I cook. It’s as though I get lost in the food; in the flavors, the smells, and sometimes just the simple pleasure that good food brings to my soul.
I also get lost pinning things on Pinterest. Which is mostly just a distraction from what I’m actually trying to do which is work like a normal person and get to the gym.
Speaking of the gym, I have an update on my Big Foot/marine/professional wrestler trainer! Uhhh… he is legit crazy (yes I just said that). He made us do 30 jumpsquats, some weird miliary squats with weights, 20 billion planks, and suicides. It’s like high school basketball practice all over, and again, I thought I was going to die. Apparently he enjoys torturing people while he sits there and plans his next attack as Sasquatch or whatever he does in his free time. I mean he even told us to eat a Paleo based diet, which of course I won’t be doing. Only because I really like carbs and pumpkin pie season is coming (my obsession).
What?! No one tells me what to eat.
…Unless it’s someone really ridiculously good-looking like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek. Then I MIGHT consider his suggestion.
Bruschetta is delicious and quite healthy as far as appetizers go. Well unless you put fried onion rings and bacon on it.. then not so much.
However, I like good-for-you sorts of things. So toasted slices of whole grain french bread are slathered with one of my favorites: heart-healthy smashed avocado mixed with sea salt and fresh lime juice. Then I pile on a mixture of tomato, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Oh and let’s not forget a little fresh basil!
Goodness. These cute toasts are simply delightful. Especially with fresh tomatoes from your garden!
They only take about 10 minutes to throw together.
Annnnndddd they are vegan! But I mean, if you hate vegan things you could just add a little goat cheese. Or bacon.
Hey by the way… did you guys know that I don’t eat pork or beef?
Whole grain slices of french bread are toasted to perfection and topped with smashed avocado and a garlicky tomato basil mixture.
1/2 loaf whole grain french bread (or 1 petite loaf), sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 avocados, smashed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus exta
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
Preheat oven on broiler setting.
Place slices of bread on baking sheet, spray with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt; broil slices in oven about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oven and rub with one clove of garlic (make sure to cut it in half before rubbing).
In a medium bowl, mix smashed avocado, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and ground pepper.
In a separate large bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mince other garlic clove and add it into tomato mixture.
Spread smashed avocado mixture onto each slice of toast, then generously spoon tomato topping on top. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.
I have to admit that this week I was a little bummed. I don’t know if it’s because Bella cheated on Edward, or if it’s because I got rid of THIRTEEN pairs of shoes yesterday. Yes, THIRTEEN! It’s not like I ever wore them, but seriously getting rid of shoes is like throwing away memories.
So I took myself shoe shopping to make up for it.
I’m a girl… it’s what we do. Anyway I feel much better now. I even made myself a cute little appetizer to start the weekend the right.
And I think that you just have to make these little pita pizzas too! They are my new favorite thing.
If you’ve never roasted berries before then now is the time to start; it’s so wonderful! The heat from the oven brings out the sugars and juice, giving you a melt in your mouth sweetness that will make you want to savor every single bite of the fruit.
Roasting berries had been on my bucket list for a while, but throwing them on a whole wheat pita and topping it with caramelized onion, mozzarella, and arugula? Completely spur of the moment and just a little bit heavenly.
I served these at a party and they disappeared in seconds!
Wearing new heels and making delicious pita pizzas with roasted berries.
Someone’s Friday just got better.
Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Cherry Pita Pizzas with Arugula
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/4 teaspoon of salt
10 strawberries, hulled and quartered
10 dark red cherries, pitted and halved
3 or 4 whole wheat pitas (I use 100 calorie pitas)
1 cup of reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup arugula
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss strawberries and cherries in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Spread on baking sheet and place in oven for 15 minutes.
Heat medium saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add onions and stir frequently until onions begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium low and add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cook 1 more minute and then remove from heat and set aside.
Place whole wheat pitas on a nonstick baking sheet. Brush pitas with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Evenly distribute roasted strawberries and cherries, cheese, onions onto pitas. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees or until edges of pitas begin to turn golden brown.
Top each pita with arugula and cut into triangles. Drizzle with addition balsamic vinegar and top with fresh black pepper and salt if desired.
Usually for peanut butter. Sometimes for a big banana milkshake. Always for a slice of pumpkin pie. But today, I wanted sweet potato fries more than anything else in the world… with a little somethin’ special: homemade honey mustard dipping sauce.
If you’re wondering what the combination of the two is like, it’s quite difficult to say. I mean, how do you explain magic when it happens?
Honeymustardoholic: Not a word, but probably will be soon. This stuff is addictive.
With only three ingredients this honey mustard is incredibly easy to throw together. All you need is low-fat mayo, honey, and dijon mustard. Whip the three together in a small bowl, then be prepared to make more. Why? Because you will be putting it on everything.
It’s unusually versatile: Slather it on a slice of bread and top with turkey, dunk your kids chicken nuggets in it (eating them yourself, obviously), dip some veggies in it (you’re so healthy!), or just do like I do and eat it by the spoonful (I like you).
Oh and now you want to know about these crispy, LOW-FAT sweet potato fries?
I’ve been making my own fries for a couple of years now, so I’ve experimented with several different methods. Here are five tips that I’d like to pass along to ensure a crispy, delicious baked sweet potato fry.
Cut them thick. Cutting your fries into large slices about 1/2-3/4 inch thick will ensure a nice sweet interior that doesn’t dry up when baking.
Use cornstarch to keep them crispy. Sweet potatoes are made up of a higher percentage of water compared to regular potatoes which causes them to sometimes get soggy when baked. Coating the fries with a little bit of cornstarch prevents this, as the cornstarch will form a crust on the outside of the fry. I got the corn starch idea from The Art of Doing Stuff. I’ve also thought about using flour, but I’m not sure it would have the same effect.
Drizzle them with a little olive oil. We’re not fry baking them, so a lot of olive oil isn’t necessary. Usually 1 or 2 tablespoons is sufficient enough to crisp them up and add flavor.
Give them room to breathe. Don’t allow your fries to touch on your baking sheet. You want the air to circulate around them so that they will bake and crisp evenly. You can use two baking sheets if you are making a lot of fries; be sure to rotate the sheet halfway through baking time.
Turn them halfway through. We want crispy fries on all sides, not just one.
Hmm… what else could you possibly need to know about these?
Oh yeah, how about how to flavor them?
My favorite way is with a little bit of cinnamon and sea salt, but it’s up to you! If you like your sweet potato fries spicy, try adding cayenne pepper. Another great option is cumin and garlic powder for a little bit of mexican pizazz. I know a lot of people who prefer paprika as their seasoning of choice too. It’s fun experimenting with different flavors.
I love to make a giant batch of these because I never feel guilty about eating them. They are low in fat, and just so happen to be packed with vitamins and minerals! Technically sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat; they’re full of vitamin A, C, and E, plus fiber, potassium and beta carotene. They’re also a complex carbohydrate which means that they take longer for your body to break down, keeping you fuller, longer. Read more about sweet potatoes and their nutritional value here.
The daily health information session is now over. Let’s get back to drooling.
Crispy, golden orange, salty-sweet, incredible, plus one million other delicious adjectives.
My goodness I love these fries… and I think you should make them.
But don’t you dare forget that dipping sauce!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
For the fries
2-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired
1-2 tablespoons of corn starch
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (if desired) or your own spice combination
For the honey mustard dipping sauce
1/4 cup low-fat mayo (can also use fat-free or olive oil based)
1/4 cup dijon mustard (whole grain dijon is good too)
2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
Cut your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut the sweet potatoes evenly into even fry shapes and place into a large bowl.
Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch over the uncooked fries and use your hands to gently toss sweet potatoes and corn starch together to lightly coat the sweet potatoes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the fries and toss with your hands, adding more if you feel the fries are not LIGHTLY coated. Sprinkle whatever spices you’d like onto the fries (I use sea salt and cinnamon) and gently toss again.
Spread sweet potatoes evenly on your baking sheet(s), making sure that they aren’t touching each other. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip fries with a spatula, and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until the fries are golden brown and crispy. Do not overbake or they will burn. A little caramelization on the edges of the fries is good, but we don’t want black fries.
To make the homemade honey mustard combine mayo and dijon mustard in a small bowl and mix until well combined and creamy. Slowly add in the honey and stir again until combined. Keep in refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Preheating your baking sheet will also result in a crisper fry, but sometimes my fries cook quicker so just be aware of the timing.
I do not recommend using aluminum foil, as every time I do my fries come out soggy.
If you are making a smaller batch of fries, or if you cut them thinner, I recommend flipping them after 10 minutes and only baking for a total of 20 minutes.
I apologize for not blogging as frequent as usual. I was traveling, thinking, and making this bruschetta.
I really like to think. I go to the grocery store and I think about things I can make. Every day I’m thinking about what I want to accomplish. In the mornings, I think about how much I want to go to Starbucks drive thru. I’m thinking about how much I want cake right now… no surprise there! This week, I thought about how badly I needed to empty the dishwasher and do laundry. Still on my mind. Most days I daydream about what the future holds and where I’ll be in 10 years. I think I think too much.
Lately my thoughts have turned into actions. I’m making HUGE decisions. Decisions that will change my life! It’s exciting… it’s making me nervous… it’s OMG! We all have to start somewhere right?
Maybe we could all just begin with bruschetta and hang out a while. I like that idea.
An extraordinary little place called Vegas happened to me this weekend.
I ate at a place called the Pink Taco. Questionable name, but okay Mexican food.
I have at least six blisters on my feet. This could be a result of wearing high heels or possible swing dancing. Not sure.
I had a Pumpkin Margarita with a nutmeg powdered sugar rim! Wolfgang Puck is a genius margarita inventor. He should probably cater my wedding someday if I get married. Also his french fries are ridiculously addicting. I’m upset about it.
I went to the Marine Corps Ball. I know you are going to ask, so I’ll just tell you now that I didn’t see Justin Timberlake or Mila Kunis.
Besides this, I gambled a bit and I did a lot of other things that probably shouldn’t be mentioned on this blog. I am an angel.
Another interesting note: on my flight back home someone passed out in the middle of the plane aisle. That’s when you know you had too good of a time in Vegas. Tsk Tsk.
Besides Vegas, I’ve been incredibly busy. I was in California for a week vacationing, laughing, eating good food, shopping, living the good life for a bit. I’ll post pictures soon!